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A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
In recent weeks, Beverly Hills residents have been alarmed at the thought that their backyards might be left high and dry, with calls pouring into the offices of landscape architects and pool designers. “The drought has people worried that the next step in conservation may involve cities placing moratoriums on future pools,” says Kathleen Ferguson of Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes.
Adds Pooltastic Designs’ Bill Holloway: “I get one to two calls a week from potential clients, which is quite surprising to me.”
Adding fuel to the fire over water was a recent pool ban passed by the Laguna Beach City Council. However, that restriction, which was to remain in place until the end of the drought, was overturned after 45 days by the council.
Beverly Hills spokesperson Therese Kosterman tells THR that that no moratorium is being considered. “It’s just a rumor,” she says.
Kosterman adds that new pool construction is allowed as long as residents can show that they’re able to save an equivalent amount of water on another part of their property or pay a fee to the water conservation fund, the amount of which is dependent upon pool size. Further, existing pools can only be emptied and refilled due to a serious health or safety issue. Meanwhile, pool covers are required by the state and not part of Beverly Hills’ water conservation measures.
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